Mukul Sangma, the outgoing chief minister of Meghalaya, was in for a surprise when he walked-in at the residence of UDP chief Donkupar Roy. Sangma, chief minister running a Congress government in the state, found that Roy had already decided to side with the BJP camp. Another surprise he received was the moving in of Himanta Biswa Sarma’s vehicle at the residence along with National People’s Party chief Conrad Sangma, Indian Express reports. So when Mukul was making an offer to Roy to hold Chief Minister’s seat in the state for 2.5 years, Sarma and Conrad were reportedly waiting.
Not to the surprise of many, Roy rejected Mukul’s offer and minutes later Sarma announced the support of 29 MLAs and the decision to meet the Governor at 5 pm with the letter of their support. But why, Roy, whose party had only won six seats, rejected the offer to hold CM seat for half of the total term? The answer to this interesting question lies in Congress’ bitter past with the regional party. The Congress and UDP were in an alliance between 2008 and 2013. The two parties had a bitter parting before the 2013 elections. Roy held the Chief Minister’s post for a brief period during those five years, but had resigned for Congress’s D D Lapang, followed by Sangma in 2010.
The other party, which Congress needed to form the government was former Congress leader P N Syiem-led PDF. Syiem had floated PDF due to his differences with Mukul. Clearly, despite emerging as the single largest part, Congress had a big trust deficit with allies it needed to form the government.
With president Rahul Gandhi on a personal trip to Italy, Congress’ trust deficit with allies became the prime reason it couldn’t form a government in Meghalaya despite rushing heavyweights like Ahmed Patel, Kamal Nath, C P Joshi and Mukul Wasnik to Shillong. Another factor was that these parties were keen to be on the right side of the BJP, which is in power at the Centre.
As per The Indian Express, the Congress had hoped that Roy’s party, who has its base in Khasi and Jaintia hills, would insist on a person from Khasi hills as CM. However, the UDP made a clear announcement that it wanted Conrad Sangma as the chief minister.